28 Jul Reading = Food for the Soul
During the seven or so years that I was writing Greekscapes, I chose to stop reading novels and memoirs about Greece lest I lose the nerve to write about my own journeys. By the time I finished writing and publishing, I was Fed Up with my story and absolutely Starved for literature by other writers! Currently I am re-visiting Kazantzakis’ Report To Greco, inspired by five other books by 3 excellent contemporary writers that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since May.
A brilliant tapestry has been created in a spectacular historical novel :
The Embroiderer (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1781322961)(http://www.kathryngauci.com/about-the-author/) I’ve absorbed much Greek history by reading and living here many years. I’ve perused the Athens museums like the Byzantine and Benaki, the Museum in Hydra, Nauplion and others displaying the artifacts, clothes, room settings and art. The house I live in was built in 1892, and my landlady has shared some of her family history with me. My journeys to present day Istanbul and Egypt gave me further insight into the Greek-Turkish history, including the exchange of populations in the 1920’s and the diabolical WWII. My studies through the years are encapsulated immeasurably in the pages and lives of the heroic (and not so heroic) personalities so beautifully stitched into The Embroiderer. And if that isn’t enough, the author gives the recipe for Sevkiye’s Pilav in the Postscript – fit for a banquet! All the senses are tapped in this novel. I, regrettably. finished it last week. This book is excellent enough to devour again, or see at the cinema! Thank you, Kathryn Gauci – Brava!
I’ve also finished the delightfully enlightening travel memoir trilogy by Marjory McGinn:
I didn’t want to finish – akin to wanting a gorgeous dinner with loved ones to last much longer! In short, Marjory her partner Jim, who had both been journalists in Australia and the UK, along with their adorable, “crazy” Jack Russell terrier, Wallace, set off for a year’s sabbatical from Scotland…which launched into a much longer adventure-filled break and acclimation to the village life in the Mani in the southern Peloponnese – twice. I’ve only been close to the Mani area with several stays in Monemvassia. I also didn’t read the books in sequence as they were written, because I hadn’t yet heard about the first when I started with the delicious Homer’s Where the Heart Is (https://amzn.com/1511896833). Eager not to miss the first course , next came Things Can Only Get Feta (https://amzn.com/1508496064). My appetite was barely sated enough to wait until the third course arrived. When I heard that it was ready, I was more than ready to gobble up A Scorpion in the Lemon Tree(https://amzn.com/1534782303), except…I found myself slowing down to enjoy each delightful morsel. Each course can stand alone as complete and yet all together, these three books comprise a marvelous feast for the soul. The meetings with many of the characters living in the area will warm your heart, tickle your funny bone, and give valuable historical, social, and even political accounts of present day Greece too. Be sure to check out Marjory’s current blog to find out more. There is never a dull moment with these truly intrepid adventurers!(http://bigfatgreekodyssey.com/blog/)
My reading banquet continued in Crete: A Notebook, by Richard Clark, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1500761648) which I thoroughly enjoyed. It whetted my appetite to return to Crete for more explorations- gorging on the culinary, as well as exploring actual gorges. Richard has a personal way of writing which takes his reader along uncharted paths with him, with time to rest and reflect on the past at each stop. I have a feeling that he and Kazantzakis would have had great conversations together, if they had been living in the same epoch – but at least we can be glad that Richard is here with us now. His next book in the Greek travel series will be published soon, so watch for it!
I’m grateful to Kathryn Gauci for this recent interview about Greekscapes, which she was kind to request from me recently – great questions! (http://www.kathryngauci.com/1568-2/)
Wishing you good appetites (Kali orexi) and Yeia Mas (Cheers!) Pamela
to order my book: https://amzn.com/1508860564
GREEKSCAPES: Illustrated Journeys with an Artist
by Pamela Jane Rogers